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GOP snowflakes, Boeing blitz, Braun busted, Puzder threats…

Wednesday, February 15, 2017




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Cathy McMorris Rodgers and GOP ‘snowflakes’ shouldn’t confuse dissent with violence (by Shawn Vestal) — As Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and others in Congress duck and swerve to avoid the intense opposition to their Faustian bargain with the president, they are making a mistake – misreading the depth of opposition and dismissing people they are supposed to represent. In the face of impassioned protests, Republicans in Congress are scurrying out the back doors of town halls while lobbing weak, dismissive insults at the protesters.

McMorris Rodgers convened a closed-door congressional session with fellow Washington Rep. Dave Reichert to discuss security concerns with lawmakers, while her spokeswoman invoked fears of “violence” as a rationale for choking off protesters’ access to her office. To mischaracterize the wave of citizen activism right now as violence is to grossly misread the moment… The snowflakification of GOP lawmakers is supremely ironic, given that the right has thrived on a continual nattering about the oversensitivity and entitlement of others. So, sure, these lawmakers should take appropriate security measures, by all means. But they should stop demonizing dissent, leave their fainting couches at home, and heed a refrain that is so common in their echo chamber: Toughen up, buttercup.

► A related story in today’s Washington Post — Trump’s toxicity has Republicans running away from their constituents (by Dana Milbank) — An early backlash against the Trump presidency has led to many verbal confrontations between Republican lawmakers and the citizenry. President Trump’s face plant since the inauguration — most recently the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn over dealings with Russia — is only making matters worse.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing floods airwaves in aggressive South Carolina anti-union campaign — The jet maker ran 485 local TV spots between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6 urging workers to vote against the IAM. Additional anti-union ads from the South Carolina Manufacturers Institute had aired 350 times by Feb. 6, including one that ran locally during the Super Bowl. Boeing has also deployed radio, billboards, YouTube videos, social media, emails and mailings to reach its employees.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Just imagine if they spent some of that money to improve wages and benefits of their employees in South Carolina, instead of trying to convince them not to stand together to demand it.

► From — Statement of support for Boeing S.C. workers

“Union representation is the bedrock of our middle class and has empowered generations of American workers to organize for better wages and fairer treatment in the workplace. We strongly support Boeing’s South Carolina workers’ effort to exercise their right to vote on union representation, and we urge Boeing to remain neutral in the election. Boeing’s partnership with the International Association of Machinists in Washington State is proof that Machinists’ members are highly skilled workers and are key to Boeing’s global leadership in the aerospace industry. We hope Boeing’s workers in South Carolina are afforded the same opportunity as their Washington colleagues to choose union representation.”

— Signed by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and… that’s all.

► In the Charleston P-C — ‘You’re not sharing in the same success that you’re creating for Boeing.’ Workers, union rally ahead of North Charleston labor vote — “This is a wealthy industry,” Mike Evans, the IAM’s lead local organizer, told more than 100 union supporters during a meeting attended by Boeing workers, politicians and heads of organized labor. “Your labor allows a lot of people to get rich, but that success is not reaching the shop floor in decent wages. I’ll be blunt – you’re not sharing in the same success that you’re creating for Boeing.”




► From Crosscut — GOP’s school funding numbers may not add up (by Tom James) — Democrats in the state Senate are angry about what they say were actions by Republicans that apparently misled colleagues and the public over mistakes in key numbers in the state’s education funding debate. Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia), chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and was the architect of the Republican plan. According to Democrats, Braun was the one who is said to have received the staff briefing on the errors. Asked to confirm that he had learned the numbers contained errors, Braun turned around and walked into his office.

After hearing rumors there were errors in the plan, Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Is.) confronted Braun. “He said that, yes, there were errors,” Ranker said of Braun. “He told me that he had been made aware days ago… and that he had asked that no one else be briefed, not me as the ranking member, not the public, not the media.”

► In today’s News Tribune — Whose numbers are right? Lawmakers disagree about effects of GOP school-funding plan — “We still don’t have the right numbers for the Senate Republicans’ plan,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Is.) “I think what we saw from the Republican plan is you can’t smash this through the Legislature in five days and think that’s going to work.”

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Use payroll tax to set up long-term care benefit (editorial) — Similar to the payroll tax that supports the worker’s compensation benefit, HB 1663, the Long-Term Care Trust Act, would levy a 0.49 percent tax, deducted from workers’ paychecks that would fund a long-term care trust.




► From KUOW — Seattle offers city workers 12 weeks paid parental leave, with a catch — The city is technically offering 8 weeks of parental leave and will require employees to use up vacation or sick time to make it a full 12 weeks. For employees who don’t have four weeks of time-off to use, the city will give them extra parental leave so they have 12 weeks off.

► From PubliCola — Will paid family leave become a reality in Seattle?Now that city employees will get up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, there’s that looming question: what about everyone else?

► In today’s Seattle Times — Port of Seattle executives who rolled out $4.8M bonus program all got big payouts




► In today’s NY Times — Trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump condemns leaks to news media in Twitter flurryThe president unleashed fury at intelligence agencies, accusing them of leaking information.

► In today’s NY Times — The missing pieces of the Flynn story (editorial) — The whole fiasco underscores the dysfunction and dishonesty of his White House and how ill prepared it is to protect the nation… There are many unanswered questions. Did anyone in the White House authorize Mr. Flynn’s contacts? Why has Mr. Trump not condemned him for discussing sanctions with the Russians when he was not yet in office? All of this puts more pressure on Congress to act.

► From Politico — Who told Michael Flynn to call Russia? — Hours after Flynn resigned, Trump took to Twitter to encourage everyone to move on. “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” he tweeted out Tuesday morning. In a sense, Trump is right: The real story is not Flynn. But it isn’t government leaks, either. No, the “real story here” is Trump himself — and the continuing mystery of his ties to Russia.

► From The Hill — Dem senator: Trump tax returns could explain his Russia position — Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) says an investigation that would produce President Trump’s tax returns could shed light on Trump’s “bizarre positioning” towards Russia.

► From The Hill — House panel votes against requesting Trump’s tax returns — The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday rejected a Democratic push to ask for President Trump’s tax returns. The amendment was voted down on a party-line vote.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.) serves on this committee and voted against requesting Trump’s returns.

► In today’s NY Times — As Democrats seek inquiry, GOP anxiety grows — Republicans are expressing concern over the administration’s ties to Russia. “Who’s in charge?” Sen. John McCain asked.

► From TPM — GOP Sen. Corker: We must address White House’s Russia ties — Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Wednesday morning called for congressional investigations into Michael Flynn and the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, warning that failure to address the issue could “destabilize” the federal government’s ability to enact policy.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As Trump’s campaign was communicating with the Russians amid their intervention in the U.S. election, here’s what Michael Flynn was saying…




► From Politico — Exclusive: Puzder’s ex-wife told Oprah he threatened ‘you will pay for this’ — The ex-wife of President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee told “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that he “vowed revenge” when she made public spousal abuse allegations, according to a 1990 tape reviewed by Politico on Tuesday night. Andrew Puzder’s hearing for labor secretary is Thursday, but the allegations of domestic abuse, which he’s repeatedly denied, and his admission that he employed an illegal immigrant have put his confirmation in jeopardy. The details of the Oprah tape, which haven’t been made public until now, could further erode his support in the Senate, where four Republicans have expressed reservations about his nomination. No Democrats are expected to support him.

► from The Guardian — The questions Trump’s labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder must answer — #1) “Mr. Puzder, you have been named to run an agency that was split off from the commerce department in 1913 to give American workers a voice in the cabinet. Considering that you have long been a strong voice for business, opposing many proposals to lift workers, could you truly serve as a voice for workers in the cabinet or would you in effect just be a second commerce secretary who advocated for business?”

► In today’s Washington Post — Labor Dept. employees urge vote against Puzder nomination

► From Eater — Puzder gave thousands to senators confirming him

► From AFL-CIO — Trumka: The Senate should vote ‘no’ on Andrew Puzder




► From CNBC — Trump’s hiring freeze hurts young veterans, who were already having trouble getting jobs — President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze may hit veterans hardest. It’s a primary source of civilian employment post-service because of its preferential hiring practices toward veterans. A third of federal workers are veterans.

ALSO at The Stand — Trump’s federal hiring freeze is killing jobs, hurting vets

► In today’s Washington Post — Ryan goes door-to-door on the Hill to try to salvage plan for Obamacare repeal, replacement — With Republicans sharply divided, lawmakers question whether the health-care law can be effectively gutted by the House Speaker’s self-imposed deadline in March.

► In the Wichita Eagle — Airlines pushing to privatize U.S. air traffic control system — Major airlines and their trade associations are pushing hard to overhaul the nation’s air traffic control system, urging the Trump administration to take it out of government hands for the first time in nearly 60 years.

► In today’s NY Times — Who’d want to limit retirement plans? House Republicans (editorial) — The only rationale for opposing state efforts to promote retirement savings is to assert the interests of Wall Street.




► From CNN — Even Trump voters want the minimum wage raised — Donna Coomer raised three children on a minimum-wage job and a lot of prayer. She thanks God daily that President Trump was elected. Her message to him is simple: Bring back jobs and raise the minimum wage. “Have you ever tried to live on $7.25 an hour?” Coomer asks. “It was horrible.”

► In today’s Washington Post — The president lays the groundwork for a nationwide voter intimidation program (by Sherrilyn Ifill) — A presidential command to investigate the existence of a phenomenon that has been demonstrated not to exist (“voter fraud”) can accomplish only one thing — a nationwide system of voter intimidation authorized at the highest levels of government.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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